SNAPSHOT: Legal Campaigners Fight Climate Change Through the Courts

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Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons

2018 saw an uptick in legal action on climate change, with citizens, cities, and states turning to the courts to push for faster government action to cut greenhouse gas emissions or hold fossil companies accountable for their outsized role in bringing about the climate crisis.

In a landmark decision that had climate hawks around much of the world hoping for a precedent, an appeal court in the Netherlands upheld a lower court order calling for faster emissions cuts by the national government. Courts in Germany ordered three cities to consider banning high-polluting diesel vehicles and temporarily protected a remnant of the 12,000-year-old Hambach Forest from an open-cast coal mine. A report found that more than 80 climate-related lawsuits had landed in U.S. courtrooms in 2017.

The Rise of Climate Attribution Litigation

Legal campaigners built on the emergence of climate impact attribution studies in 2017 as a possible tool for holding fossils, other businesses, and governments accountable for climate impacts by pinpointing the role of major emitters in climate disasters. In mid-May, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said time will tell how well attribution science fares in court. But by then, District Court Judge William Alsup had upheld two California cities’ right to attempt to sue carbon polluters in federal court. Alsup ultimately ruled against the cities, dealing “the first major blow to the wave of climate suits that have been filed by communities across the country over the past year,” Climate Liability News reported. But before concluding that it was up to elected legislators, not an unelected judge, to decide whether the world is better off without oil, Alsup held what amounted to a climate science seminar in his courtroom, in what Michael Burger, Executive Director of Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, called “the closest that we have seen to a trial on climate science in the United States to date.”

In Canada, West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL) and the Georgia Strait Alliance were satisfied with the near-miss when a proposal to send municipal climate accountability letters to 20 colossal fossils earned the support of 47.8% of local officials at the Union of B.C. Municipalities. While “we narrowly lost the vote,” wrote WCEL staff lawyer Andrew Gage, “I felt surprisingly good about it” given the quick pace at which the proposal gained support. WCEL also released a legal tookit for campaigners opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Legal Action from All Directions

Rhode Island became the first U.S. state to sue fossils for climate impacts; Colorado filed against ExxonMobil and Suncor; and New York City launched a claim against five giant fossil producers for their role in Hurricane Sandy, “a tragedy wrought by the actions of the fossil fuel companies” that left 44 dead and US$19 billion in damage after it stormed ashore in October 2012.

Later in the year, New York State filed suit against ExxonMobil, claiming that America’s biggest oil company had misled investors about its management of climate risk. District Court Judge Valerie Caproni had previously accused Exxon of “running roughshod over the adage that the best defence is a good offence” with its claim that New York and Massachusetts were violating its free speech rights by probing whether it had misled investors. A bipartisan group in the United States proposed a carbon tax deal that would have protected fossils from future climate liability.

Dutch journalist Jelmer Mommers discovered that Royal Dutch Shell understood the urgency of climate change as far back as 1988. In mid-November, U.S. crab fishers sued 30 fossils, including Calgary-based Encana Corporation, in a bid to hold them accountable for “significant economic losses” due to ocean warming off California and Oregon.

Fourteen U.S. states sued the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce its methane control regulations, 19 states threatened legal action after the Trump administration moved to roll back tailpipe emission standards, and Colorado’s oil and gas regulator faced an environmental lawsuit from a poor, mostly Hispanic neighbourhood in the city of Greeley.

A Quebec village defeated a lawsuit that would have prevented it from protecting its water supply from fossil exploration. South Portland, Maine, won a landmark case upholding a local anti-pipeline ordinance, and anti-pipeline campaigners found out to their dismay that when they win in court, U.S. regulators just change the rules. Montreal-based ENvironnement JEUnesse (ENJEU) opened a class action suit on behalf of Quebec youth aged 35 and under, taking Ottawa to task for its inadequate plan to combat climate change.

More Delays for Landmark Youth Lawsuit

The Trump administration continued its feverish effort to keep the 21 youth plaintiffs behind Juliana v. United States out of court. After the White House lost a bid to quash the case in March, the trial was scheduled for October 29. The plaintiffs bought their train tickets to Eugene, Oregon, only to be held up again by additional court challenges.

Youth in Colombia took their government to court for failing to protect their future, and eight youth plaintiffs filed suit in mid-April against Florida’s climate-denying governor, Rick Scott.

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Oregon state capitol ZehnKatzen/Wikipedia

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Lawyers representing Montreal-based ENvironnement JEUnesse went to court yesterday to make the case for the organization’s class action suit against the Trudeau government’s inadequate response to the climate crisis.

Big Companies Foresee $970 Billion in Climate Risk, $2.1 Trillion in Gains from Climate Action

More than 200 of the world’s biggest companies anticipate nearly US$1 trillion in business risk—more than half of it in the next five years—due to climate change, but $2.1 trillion in benefits from climate-friendly products and services, according to an analysis of thousands of corporate disclosures by CDP, the UK non-profit formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Rainforest Destruction in Brazil Hit 10-Year High in May

Brazil recorded its worst rate of rainforest destruction in a decade over the crucial month of May, with the government’s own satellite imagery showing illegal loggers stepping up their activity under the deregulatory regime of President Jair Bolsonaro.

Trump’s EPA Offloads Thousands of Deaths by Changing Its Math

Minnesota Appeals Court Rejects Line 3 Pipeline Approval

Fossils were disappointed and Enbridge saw its share price fall 4.7% Monday, after a Minnesota appeals court ruled a state regulator had failed to properly consider the impacts of a Lake Superior oil spill in its approval of the proposed Line 3 pipeline replacement.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraction_of_petroleum

Abandoned Well Cleanup Could Take 2,800 Years, Alberta Regulator Tells Industry

It may take more than 2,800 years to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells across Alberta, National Observer and Star Calgary reveal in an exclusive report this week, after obtaining a September 2018 presentation to a private industry gathering by a senior official with the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER).

Kenney Courageously Strikes Back After Wildfires Defame Alberta’s Oilpatch

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is all set to strike back at the perfidious wildfires besmirching the fossil industry’s good reputation, reports Canada’s satirical online magazine, The Beaverton.

Oregon Senate Adopts Five-Year Fracking Moratorium

The Oregon State Senate adopted a five-year moratorium on oil and gas fracking last week, after amending a House resolution calling for a 10-year ban.

Coal Transport, Climate Change Justify Lawbreaking in ‘Self-Defence’

Vrooman, Guilbeault Urge ZEV Mandate, Support for Deep Energy Retrofits

A federal zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate and stronger support for deep energy retrofits are the main recommendations of the federal Advisory Council on Climate Action, released during the Clean Energy Ministerial in Vancouver earlier this week.

Australia Reports Rising Emissions, Sees Strong Renewables Potential, as Adani Mine Fight Intensifies

The intensity surrounding recent national elections in Australia is rolling over into the post-campaign period, with the country’s greenhouse gas emissions still rising, its potential for renewable energy development still catching attention, the fight over the massive Carmichael coal mine reaching a fever pitch, and its most heavily-populated state feeling the full force of climate-driven drought.

Utility Advocate Challenges NJ’s $300-Million Nuclear Bailout in Court

Alberta Party Leaders Unanimously Back C-69 Amendments from Unelected Senate Committee

The 187 amendments to Canada’s proposed Impact Assessment Act adopted by the unelected members of the Senate Energy Committee would make the bill acceptable to Alberta, according to a joint letter signed by Premier Jason Kenney, opposition leader Rachel Notley, Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel, and Alberta Liberal leader David Khan.

B.C. Asks Supreme Court to Overturn Judges’ Decision Against Trans Mountain Regulation

British Columbia is on its way to a Supreme Court of Canada appeal, after the provincial Court of Appeal ruled unanimously against its right to apply environmental regulations to heavy crude shipped through the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

China Boosts Unsubsidized Renewables But Storms Ahead with Coal Production, Air Pollution

While China is surging ahead with more than 20 billion watts of unsubsidized renewable energy, the country is also seeing alarming increases in coal consumption, coal-driven air pollution, and emissions of an ozone-destroying chemical that was banned in 2012.

Ohio Becomes Battleground on the Legal Rights of Nature

Ohio is becoming a battleground in the fight over the legal rights of nature, after voters in Toledo adopted a ballot initiative in February that establishes a bill of rights for Lake Erie.

San Diego Microgrid Plan Faces Regulatory Hurdle

Pre-Election Messaging Rolls Out as Ottawa Confirms Federal Carbon Tax for Alberta

With Ottawa confirming last week that it will impose its backstop price on carbon after the Jason Kenney government moved to eliminate Alberta’s carbon levy, fossil-friendly pundits are working to frame climate and carbon as a winning issue for Conservatives in this fall’s federal election.

New York State Rejects $1-Billion Natural Gas Pipeline

Presenting their decision as rooted in a responsibility to protect state waters from pollution, New York State regulators have rejected a contentious US$1-billion dollar natural gas pipeline that would have linked their state to the gas fields of Pennsylvania.

UN Shipping Agency Wastes Time ‘Rearranging Deck Chairs’, Ignores Climate Emergency

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) squandered valuable time debating procedure and process when it could have been working to decarbonize the global shipping industry, appalled members of the Clean Shipping Coalition concluded after the agency wrapped up a meeting of its Marine Environment Protection Committee in London, UK last week.

Former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Chair Calls for Nuclear Reactor Ban

The former chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the country’s nuclear industry should be banned, after concluding that the dangers of climate change no longer outweigh the risk of catastrophic reactor accidents.

Indiana Regulator Blocks Utility’s Plan to Replace Coal Plant with Gas

‘Unprecedented’ Interference by Unelected Senators Puts Environmental Reforms in Jeopardy

Politicians and environmental groups are raising the alarm about political interference after unelected Canadian senators voted down one environmental protection bill in committee and adopted hundreds of amendments to a second one, after both had been passed by the elected House of Commons.

Oilpatch Journalist Debunks Krause’s Conspiracy Theories About Anti-Pipeline Campaigners

Part of Jason Kenney’s “pushback strategy” is a C$2.5-million public inquiry into “the foreign source of funds behind the campaign to landlock Alberta energy.” Another is a $30-million-per-year “energy war room” that will “tell the truth assertively,” presumably tweet for tweet. Kenney has said in speeches and press releases that his pushback strategy is based upon VIvian Krause’s work. What if she’s wrong? – An investigative report by Markham Hislop

Lake Erie Wind Project Agrees to High-Tech Bird, Bat Monitoring

Nebraska Flooding Points to Spill Risk from Keystone XL

The “bomb cyclone”-driven flooding across the midwestern United States has become the latest in a litany of arguments against construction of the US$8-billion Keystone XL pipeline, with a Nebraska farmer, former oilfield worker, and avowed Republican pointing out that the rising waters could have triggered a spill on his property if the pipeline had been in place.

U.S. Regulator Delays Canadian Firm’s Oregon LNG Project by One Year

Florida City Votes to Close Local Coal Plant by 2024

Carbon Farming Could Sequester Billions of Tonnes of CO2, with U.S. Pilot Project as One First Step

A concerted, well-supported effort by the world’s farmers to restore and protect soil health could reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by as much as 65 parts per million (ppm) from the current, alarming level of more than 413 ppm, participants heard during an April 10 carbon farming webinar hosted by Washington, DC-based Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

U.S. Regulator Declares ‘Micromanagement’ After Exxon Shareholders Demand Climate Action

Canada On Track to Re-Approve Trans Mountain, But Northern Gateway Restart Looks Unlikely

Canada is likely to re-approve the controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, but a resurrection of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline plan is not in the cards, according to two separate news reports this week.

Senators Table Competing Amendments to Bill C-69

After a relentless push by the fossil lobby and others in the natural resource sector, Conservative and Independent members of the Senate Energy Committee are proposing hundreds of changes to Bill C-69, the proposed federal Impact Assessment Act.

Legal Battle Looms Over Europe’s Nord Stream Gas Pipeline

Texans File Suit Against Kinder Morgan’s Permian Pipeline

Deadbeat Fossils Withhold Taxes, Lease Payments from Alberta Municipalities and Landowners

Rural municipalities in Alberta are out more than C$81 million in tax revenue from oil and gas companies, and deadbeat fossils are also asking landowners, mostly farmers, to let them skimp on lease payments on the properties their oil and gas rigs occupy, according to a follow-up news report on Trident Exploration’s decision last week to shut down operations and abandon 4,700 gas wells.

Canadian Coalitions’ Election Platforms Call for Faster Action on Climate

With national elections in Canada just 5½ months away, three different coalitions are out with non-partisan campaign platforms aimed at propelling all the federal parties toward faster, more ambitious action on climate change.

U.S. Solar Tax Credit Extension Would Help Communities Facing Coal Phaseout

There’s an unexpected good reason for the U.S. government to extend its solar energy tax credit through 2024, according to a new briefing note by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis: It’s an essential support for coal communities making the transition to cleaner, less expensive, low-carbon energy.

Buffett-Owned Utility Proposes to Replace Coal with Renewables+Storage

Bankrupt Alberta Fossil Abandons 4,700 Wells, $329 Million in Clean-Up Costs

A bankrupt Canadian fossil is walking away from 4,700 abandoned natural gas wells and an estimated C$329 million in clean-up costs, according to a report last week by the industry-funded Alberta Energy Regulator (AER).

Saskatchewan’s Moe Vows Supreme Court Appeal After Judges Uphold Federal Carbon Tax

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is vowing a Supreme Court appeal after his province’s Court of Appeal ruled Friday that a federal carbon tax imposed on the province is constitutional and falls within Ottawa’s authority.

Canada Falls Behind on Climate Risk Reporting, Sustainable Finance

With Canada’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance due to report this spring, and a recent national climate assessment showing the country warming at twice the global rate, two community investment strategists say it’s time to catch up with other jurisdictions in requiring companies to disclose their climate-related investment risk.

Texas State Bill Would Punish Pipeline Protest on Par with Second-Degree Murder

The Texas state legislature is considering a bill that could make peaceful efforts to hinder pipeline construction a crime on par with second-degree murder, an escalation of penalty which observers say violates constitutional protections on the rights to protest, and to protection from undue punishment.

Amsterdam to Ban Petrol, Diesel Vehicles by 2030

U.S. Rolls Back Rules Meant to Prevent Next Deepwater Horizon

New York State Bans Offshore Drilling

AARP Gets Set to Stand Against Ohio Coal, Nuclear Subsidies

U.S. Supreme Court Backs Fight for Reparations Against Indian Coal Plant’s Funder

In a precedent-setting case that corporate polluters will be watching closely, fishers in India’s westernmost state of Gujarat have taken their plea for reparations against the financier of a massive coal plant to the U.S. Supreme Court—which recently ruled in their favour.

Whittingham Quits Alberta Regulator in Face of Kenney ‘Smear Campaign’

Indigenous Group Declares Legal Win Against Oil Drilling in Ecuadorian Amazon

Nigeria Senate Bans Natural Gas Flaring

Canada On Track to Hit Paris Target 200 Years Late as NEB Endorses Carbon Tax

Carbon taxes are an efficient way to reduce energy use and related carbon pollution in homes and businesses, fostering greater innovation and adoption of clean energy technologies, Canada’s non-partisan National Energy Board (NEB) concludes in a report issued last week.

Ottawa, Toronto, Burlington, and Victoria Step Up with New Action on Climate

Four Canadian cities have stepped up their action on climate change in the last week, with Ottawa and Burlington, Ontario declaring a climate emergency, Toronto considering climate liability action against major fossil polluters, and Victoria endorsing free transit across B.C.’s Capital Regional District.

Trump Administration Freezes Massive Offshore Drilling Scheme Until After 2020 Election

The Trump administration is acknowledging at least a temporary defeat in its effort to open 128 million acres (51.8 million hectares) of Arctic and Atlantic Ocean waters to oil and gas drilling, announcing Thursday that it will delay release of the plan until after the 2020 U.S. election.

Alaska Governor Seeks Trump Permit for Oil-by-Rail from Alberta

Massachusetts Approves 800-MW Offshore Wind Project

Péloffy: ‘Epic Clash of World Views’ Pits Public Mobilization Against Fossil Lobby

Quebec’s “climate spring” is a cascading grassroot trend that the province’s “powers that be” ignore at their peril, argues Karine Péloffy, legal counsel for the Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement (CQDE), in a recent post for iPolitics.

Coal Plants Failed, Renewables Shone as Epic January Heat Wave Hit Australian Grid

Australia’s mammoth coal plants failed while its wind and rooftop solar installations shone during a major January heat wave in Victoria state, according to a report last week by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

South Carolina Republicans Propose Offshore Drilling Ban

BREAKING: Emissions at Four Alberta Tar Sands/Oil Sands Mines 64% Higher Than Fossils Reported

Carbon pollution from four major tar sands/oil sands mines in northern Alberta is 64% higher than their owners reported using the United Nations’ standard emissions measurement framework, according to a study released this morning in the journal Nature Communications.

News Analyst Hopes for ‘Less Bellicose’ Kenney as Climate Groups Prepare for the Worst [GoFundMe Campaign]

News commentary in the wake of the United Conservative Party’s decisive election win in Alberta last week is skewing in two equal and opposite directions, with some stories pointing toward a more moderate, somewhat middle ground for UCP leader Jason Kenney, while the climate groups he spent much of the campaign vilifying prepare for the worst.

Ohio Subsidizes Nuclear, Blocks Clean Air Credits for Most Renewables

EVs Could Save India $2.5 Billion by 2030

India’s ambitions to have electric vehicles meet 30% of the country’s transportation needs by 2030 could save the country an estimated US$2.5 billion, according to a report co-authored by government policy think tank Niti Aayog (the National Institution for Transforming India) and the Snowmass, Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute.

Loevinsohn: Climate Resilience Matters, But Resistance Begins in the Courts

I was on Vancouver Island this August. The haze that dimmed noon to dusk and that drove air quality off scale—the worst on the planet for a time—was a shock, as it must have been for many. I have been working on and around climate change for a good while, mostly in the global South, but this summer I had it in my face and in my lungs.

Crown Drops Charges Against 14 Unist’ot’en Blockaders

Trump Plans to Deregulate Deadly PM 2.5 Particulates

New Projects Would Boost Wisconsin’s Solar Capacity Five-Fold

http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/campaigns/Energy/tarsands/

Expect ‘Flood of Litigation’ if Bill C-69 is Watered Down, Athabasca First Nations Warn

Canada will face a “flood of litigation” if the Trudeau government’s proposed Impact Assessment Act, Bill C-69, is watered down, four First Nations chiefs from the Alberta tar sands/oil sands region warned last week in testimony to a travelling Senate committee.

Monster Adani Coal Mine in Australia Clears Major Regulatory Hurdle

Global Wind Capacity Set to Surge 50% in Five Years As GE Installs 12-Megawatt Test Turbine

Falling technology costs and expanding markets will send global wind capacity soaring by 50% over the next five years, according to an annual report by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

Canada Rewrites Building Code to Avert $300 Billion in Climate-Driven Losses

Canada’s National Building Code is undergoing a major rewrite in a bid to avert C$300 billion in climate change-driven infrastructure failures over the next decade, according to high-level federal briefing notes reviewed by CBC News.

B.C. Introduces Legislation for 2040 ZEV Mandate

All new cars and light-duty trucks sold in British Columbia by 2040 will have to be zero-emission vehicles under legislation tabled Wednesday by Energy Minister Michelle Mungall.

California Sues U.S. for Emissions Decision Data

Estonia Refuses Permit for 600-MW Wind Farm, Cites Security Concerns

Alberta Oil Well Cleanup Costs Could Hit $70 Billion

The cost of cleaning up Alberta’s old and unproductive oil wells could max out at C$70 billion, according to a new report by a consortium of landowners and scientists that used data from the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) to come up with its estimate.

Alberta Officials Took 12 Hours to Notify First Nation of Potentially Toxic Hydrogen Sulphide Leak

When a cloud of toxic chemicals began wafting toward the First Nations hamlet of Fort McKay from Syncrude Canada’s Mildred Lake tar sands/oil sands plant 10 kilometres away, it took officials 12 hours to notify the community—a massive health and safety failure that critics blame on the fossil industry’s takeover of regulatory oversight in the Alberta oilpatch.

Pipeline Opponents File Lawsuit Against Trump’s Latest Keystone XL Permit

Pipeline opponents were back in U.S. federal court last Friday, contending that Donald Trump acted illegally when he issued a new permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline in defiance of a previous court order.

Colorado Passes New Oil and Gas Restrictions

Pennsylvania Energy Efficiency Bill Would Create 30,000 Jobs

Canada Falls Short on Efforts to Cut Emissions, Phase Out Fossil Subsidies, Environment Commissioner Reports

Canada still isn’t on track to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets or phase out fossil fuel subsidies, federal Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand warned last week, in the last report she will issue before her five-year term expires.

Chevron Asks to Double Proposed LNG Project as B.C. Completes ‘Fiscal Framework’ for LNG Canada

Chevron Canada has asked the National Energy Board to nearly double the size of its proposed Kitimat LNG facility, seeking a 40-year licence to export up to 28.23 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year, just days before B.C. Premier John Horgan affirmed that the fiscal framework for another LNG megaproject has fallen into place.

Long-Delayed Emergency Warning for Steelhead Trout Has Implications for Trans Mountain Pipeline

The federal government has spent more than year considering an emergency warning from scientists that pits endangered steelhead trout, and their importance to the Coldwater Indian Band in southern interior British Columbia, against Ottawa’s determination to push ahead with construction of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

U.S. House May Consider 30% Tax Credit for Energy Storage

U.S. politicians are making another attempt to introduce a tax credit for investments in batteries and other energy storage systems, and may extend the life of existing solar and wind credits, thanks in part to new momentum created by the Green New Deal resolution introduced earlier this year by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).

Automaking Hub Stuttgart Bans Older Diesel Cars

Alberta’s Oil-Producing First Nations Withdraw Support for C-69

Washington State Coal Port Plan Loses Another Round in Court

C-69 Would Deliver More Timely, Credible Decisions, Impact Assessment Specialist Argues

The federal government’s embattled Impact Assessment Act, Bill C-69, would actually deliver more credible project decisions, better consideration of economic factors, and more timely, effective consultations than its Harper-era predecessor, despite the relentless battering it has received from the Canadian fossil lobby, veteran impact assessment specialist Robert B. Gibson writes in a post for Policy Options.

Maine Legislature Revives Microgrid Bill

U.S. Judge Shoots Down Trump Repeal of Obama Ocean Drilling Ban, Puts 51.8 Million Hectares Off Limits to Fossils

A U.S. federal judge in Alaska put 128 million acres (51.8 million hectares) of Arctic and Atlantic Ocean waters off limits for oil and gas exploration in a ruling late Friday, declaring Donald Trump acted illegally by attempting to revoke an Obama-era ban on drilling in the sensitive ecosystems.

Trump Issues New Keystone Permit in Defiance of Montana Court Ruling

Two major oil pipelines between Canada and the United States are running into renewed legal hurdles, with Donald Trump making what appears to be a futile bid to reissue a presidential permit for the Keystone XL project and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer halting construction on an underwater tunnel for the Line 5 line.

Analysts Raise Eyebrows After Exxon ‘Re-Books’ 3.2 Billion Barrels of Tar Sands/Oil Sands Reserves

ExxonMobil is running into some second-guessing from analysts after bringing 3.2 billion barrels of tar sands/oil sands crude back into its active reserves.

Electric Bikes Would Save 960 Megatonnes of Carbon by 2050

Electric bikes place #69 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. They can eliminate 0.96 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 at a cost of $US106.8 billion, with net savings of $226.1 billion.

Longtime Advocate Touts New Beginning for ‘Algae as Agriculture’

Environment Commissioner Sees Ontario Climate Policy in ‘Frightening’ State as Ford Closes Her Office

Climate policy in Ontario is in a “frightening” state, Environment Commissioner Dianne Saxe warned Wednesday, in the final report her office will issue before it is closed down by the provincial government of Doug Ford.

Line 3 Gains Final Approval from Minnesota PUC

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted unanimously Tuesday to quash all remaining petitions against Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline and grant it final approval, setting the company up to complete final regulatory steps for the controversial project by the end of 2019.

Business Lobby Questions Victoria’s Climate Accountability Letter to Fossils

Motion Asks Toronto City Council to Study Climate Disaster Costs, Consider Fossil Lawsuit

Toronto will look into the costs it will incur as a result of climate change and whether a climate accountability lawsuit against fossil producers is worth pursuing if city council adopts a motion being introduced this week by Councillor Mike Layton.

B.C. Enables Billions in Tax Subsidies for LNG Development

British Columbia has introduced tax changes that confirm billions of dollars in fossil fuel subsidies for liquefied natural gas (LNG) development.

Rising Premiums Due to Severe Weather Could ‘Threaten Social Order’, Insurers Warn

The world’s biggest reinsurer, Munich Re, is warning that climate change may soon turn rising insurance costs into a pressing social issue, as more frequent, severe weather puts rates beyond the reach of most households.

B.C. Begins Environmental Review for $150-Million LNG Terminal on Tilbury Island

British Columbia has launched an environmental review for a new, C$150-million marine terminal to ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) from a 48-year-old FortisBC plant on Tilbury Island, in the south arm of the Fraser River.

Fossil Analysts Blame Global Transition, Not Federal Policies, for Canadian Industry’s Woes

A strange, new tone is emerging in the day-to-day news chatter about Canada’s oil and gas sector: after years of blaming regulatory rules and a lack of pipeline capacity for the industry’s financial woes, a couple of analysts close to the Alberta oilpatch are acknowledging some of the bigger issues at play.

Perry Helps Fossils Derail FERC Nominee Who Questioned Coal Bailout

SEC Allows U.S. Banks to Block Shareholder Climate Proposals

U.S. Judge Invalidates Wyoming Drilling Leases, Cites Inadequate Review of Climate Impacts

A federal judge in Wyoming has disallowed oil and gas drilling leases on more than 330,000 acres (133,500 hectares) of federal land after determining the Trump administration gave inadequate consideration to the climate impacts of the authorization.

Trump Administration Backs Fossils Against New York Lawsuit

Speth Sees U.S. Turning the Corner on Climate Action

New Laws Aim to Protect Environment, Not Stop Trans Mountain, B.C. Tells Appeal Court

British Columbia has the right to pass environmental laws to mitigate the harm that could result from the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but it isn’t trying to stop the project outright, provincial lawyer Joseph Arvay told the B.C. Court of Appeal earlier this week.

Green Groups Sue France for Lagging on Climate Action

‘Outstanding’ U.S. Appeals Court Ruling Delays Keystone XL by One Year

TransCanada Corporation’s $8-billion Keystone XL pipeline faces another year of delay after a U.S. appeal court denied its “urgent” motion, backed by Donald Trump’s state department, to lift an injunction blocking pre-construction activities.

B.C. Faces $3-Billion Tab for Inactive Oil and Gas Wells as Fracking Boom Gains Momentum

British Columbia now has more than 10,000 inactive oil and gas wells, and the cost of cleaning them up stands at C$3 billion and rising, according to a new report by the provincial auditor general that also tracked a seven-fold increase in “orphan” wells whose owners are bankrupt, insolvent, or can’t be found.

VW Announces EV Push, Staff Cuts as SEC Files Blockbuster Dieselgate Suit

Volkswagen announced plans last week to build 22 million new electric vehicles in the next decade, boost the number of new EV models it introduces from 50 to 70 by 2028, and cut 5,000 to 7,000 jobs by attrition by 2023, just a day before the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) filed suit against the company for allegedly defrauding investors in the Dieselgate scandal.

Ottawa Decides Against Linking Officials’ Pay to Green Performance

Marshall: Plugging Methane Leaks Should Be a ‘No-Brainer’ for Canadian Fossils

Even if Canadian fossils are intent on obstructing even the most basic national response to climate change, the least they could do is get behind methane emission reductions that cost them less than C$10 per tonne and deliver $9 billion in economic benefits, Environmental Defence climate program manager Dale Marshall argues this week in The Hill Times.

U.S. Manufacturers’ Lobby Defends Fossils Against Climate Litigation

The 123-year-old National Association of Manufacturers is emerging as one of the staunchest defenders of the U.S. oil and gas industry as it battles a cascade of litigation based on climate change and its impacts.

California Digs In as White House Lobbies Automakers to Back Extreme Regulatory Rollback

In a reversal of the way business is usually done in Washington, DC, the Trump administration is lobbying U.S. automakers—not the other way around—to support an extreme regulatory rollback that would freeze vehicle fuel efficiency standards at their present level.

Trump Climate Deregulation Could Boost U.S. Emissions by 200 Mt Per Year by 2025

Climate deregulation by the Trump administration could increase U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by more than 200 megatonnes per year by 2025, enough to “hobble global efforts to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” Reuters reports.

Court Declares UK Fracking Guidelines ‘Unlawful’, Demands Consideration of Climate Science

The UK government must take climate science and other scientific findings into account in setting national policies on oil and gas fracking, following a ruling of the High Court of England and Wales that represents a major win for advocacy group Talk Fracking.

Fossils Threaten Job Losses After Colorado Moves to Regulate Oil and Gas Health and Safety

U.S. fossils are rumbling about a threat to hundreds of thousands of jobs after the transport and energy committee of the Colorado state senate voted 4-3 to refocus the state’s oil and gas regulations on health and safety.

Courtenay Becomes 20th B.C. City to Send Accountability Letter to Major Fossils

British Columbia municipalities campaigning to have oil, gas, and coal companies cover their fair share of the cost of local climate impacts celebrated a milestone last week, when the City of Courtenay became the twentieth community to send accountability letters to 20 major fossils, West Coast Environmental Law reports.

Impact Assessment Act Faces ‘Major Senate Surgery’ as Industry Lobby Ramps Up

Canada’s proposed Impact Assessment Act, Bill C-69, is “poised for major Senate surgery” as time runs out for passage of a final bill before Parliament shuts down for the federal election this fall.

Campaigners Celebrate as Turkish High Court Blocks 1,320-MW Coal Plant

Turkey’s highest administrative court has blocked a major coal power plant on the Black Sea coast, in a victory for campaigners.
The Council of State ruled February 21 that Hema Elektrik’s environmental impact assessment for the 1,320-megawatt project in Amasra district, Bartin province, was inadequate.

South Dakota Plans Financial Penalties for Keystone XL Protesters

South Dakota’s Republican-dominated legislature has adopted two bills aimed at recovering costs from demonstrators who oppose construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline through the state.

Oregon Carbon Cap Could Boost Microgrids

Central Alberta Fracking Site Shuts Down After Reporting 4.6 Magnitude Earthquake

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has ordered Calgary-based Vesta Energy Ltd. to suspend fracking activities at one of its drilling sites after a 4.6 magnitude earthquake hit central Alberta early Monday morning.

Trump Golf Course Assessed Legal Costs After Losing Scottish Wind Case

Alberta Appoints Whittingham to Energy Regulator

SNC-Lavalin and Trans Mountain: Two Sides of a Counterfeit Coin

In an analysis for The Energy Mix, award-winning investigative journalist Paul McKay traces the parallels between the SNC-Lavalin scandal that has transfixed Canada’s capital and the Trudeau government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline in spite of its avowed commitment to climate action. “As nature abhors a vacuum,” he writes, “democracy abhors a stacked legal deck.”

Enbridge Delays Line 3 Pipeline by One Year as State Regulatory Battle Continues

Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. has announced a one-year delay in completing its controversial Line 3 pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, less than a month after newly-elected Minnesota Governor Tim Walz pledged to appeal the project’s regulatory approval in his state.

Environmental Groups Fight Controversial Licence Renewal for East Coast Oil Explorer

Five environmental groups represented by Ecojustice were in court last week, trying to stop the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) from extending an offshore drilling licence for the Old Harry prospect, near the marine border between Newfoundland and Quebec.

Exxon Seeks Regulator’s Permission to Dodge Shareholders’ Climate Resolution

Colossal fossil ExxonMobil is turning to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for permission to dodge its own shareholders’ resolution calling on management to set and disclose targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Mi’kmaq Water Protectors Headed to Court Against Gas Company Injunction

Mi’kmaq protesting a controversial project to transform underground salt caverns near Halifax into natural gas storage tanks say a recent court injunction forbidding further protests at the project site, purportedly in the name of public safety, is nothing more than a deliberate act of corporate intimidation.

Trump Tariffs Cost U.S. 18,000 Solar Jobs, But Industry Survey Shows Rebound Ahead

Though Donald Trump’s tariffs on solar panels has produced rough weather for solar jobs in the U.S. since their imposition in late January 2018, capping a two-year period that saw 18,000 jobs lost, the Solar Foundation’s latest report offers a cautious forecast for clearer skies and a rebounding industry in 2019.

Montana Judge Orders Climate Review of Giant Coal Mine Proposal

Bipartisan U.S. House Bill Would Block ANWR Drilling

NEB Sidesteps ‘Significant’ Impacts, Recommends Trans Mountain Pipeline Approval

Canada’s National Energy Board is recommending federal cabinet re-approval of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion despite its likely “significant” environmental and climate impacts, prompting multiple Indigenous and environmental opponents to vow the project will never be completed.

Coalition Uses Saskatchewan Carbon Case to Stress Governments’ Intergenerational Duty

Saskatchewan’s long-shot effort to defeat the federal government’s floor price on carbon has turned into a venue for one intervenor to argue for Canada’s obligation to protect future generations from the impacts of climate change.

NEB Rules Against Climate Impact Review for Trans Mountain Pipeline

The National Energy Board (NEB) has turned down Stand.earth’s request that it undertake a review of the climate impacts of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, as it did for the equally contentious Energy East pipeline in 2017.

Shell Buys Energy Storage Start-Up But Faces Legal Jeopardy for Past Fossil Activities

Royal Dutch Shell moved last week to shore up its position in the transition off carbon by buying German energy storage start-up Sonnen GmbH, while simultaneously facing legal jeopardy for its past and present behaviour as one of the world’s biggest fossils.

New MN Governor Vows to Continue Fight Against Line 3

New Mexico Plans Faster Closure for Major Coal Plant

Coastal GasLink Suspends Work After Unist’ot’en Recover Ancient Artifacts at Man Camp Site

Construction of the contentious Coastal GasLink pipeline was suspended late last week after members of the Unist’ot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation found two Indigenous artifacts on the site where the company is currently building a work camp near Houston, British Columbia.

Study Reveals Unreliable, Inconsistent Assessments of Tar Sands/Oil Sands Impacts

Inconsistent science has marred the credibility of dozens of past environmental impact studies of the Alberta tar sands/oil sands, according to a new assessment published in the journal Environmental Reviews.

California Sets Sights on Up to 100,000 New Net-Zero Homes Per Year

Net-zero buildings that produce as much energy as they consume may be about to hit the mainstream in California, where most new homes and multi-residential structures up to three stories high will be equipped with rooftop solar panels beginning next year.

Montana Judge Mostly Keeps Keystone XL Injunction in Place

Ontario Introduces Carbon Tax After Railing Against Carbon Taxes

The Doug Ford government in Ontario is introducing a carbon tax on large emitters that exceed a yet-to-be-established provincial standard, after launching a lawsuit against the federal floor price on carbon and deliberately gutting the province’s most affordable pathways to a sustainable economy.

Supreme Court’s Redwater Decision Could Make Credit More Costly, Less Available for Canadian Fossils

Lenders are paying attention to the recent Supreme Court decision holding bankrupt fossils responsible for cleaning up the production sites they abandon. The result may be tougher loan terms for new oil and gas projects.

Alberta Oil Curtailment Drives Down Crude By Rail

Alberta’s plan to boost the price Canadian heavy crude by eliminating a glut via mandatory production curtailments has created an unintended consequence that has some fossils crying foul: It’s driven prices high enough to make it tougher for producers to ship oil by rail.

U.S. Senate Adopts Major Public Land Conservation Bill

New Mexico Moving Fast on Tougher Methane Regulations

Retired B.C. Lawyer Risks 28-Day Sentence to Invoke Necessity Defence for Pipeline Protest

A retired lawyer from Vancouver is risking a 28-day prison sentence to test the necessity defence as a legal strategy to block fossil projects that would drive up the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

Dozens of Democrats, One Republican Table Pro-Paris House Resolution

Trans Mountain’s Fee Plan for Fossil Customers Represents $2-Billion Taxpayer Subsidy

Canadian taxpayers will be on the hook for another $2-billion fossil fuel subsidy if the National Energy Board accepts the latest request from the federal Crown corporation that now operates the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, economist Robyn Allan reports in a National Observer exposé.

Landmark Court Ruling Cites Climate Impact in Refusing New Australian Coal Mine

In what’s being hailed as a landmark ruling, the Land and Environment Court in New South Wales, Australia has listed climate change as one of the reasons to reject construction of a new open-cut coal mine.

U.S. Injunction Demands Halt to New Fossil Infrastructure Until Youth Climate Case is Heard

The 21 youth plaintiffs in the landmark Juliana v. United States are asking a judge for a temporary injunction against new fossil fuel leases or development until their case, which has been subject to multiple delays by the Trump administration, can be settled.

Green New Deal Envisions Net-Zero Emissions in 10 Years Through WWII-Scale Effort

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) released an outline of the Democrats’ Green New Deal yesterday, in the form of a 14-page Congressional resolution that would bring U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to net zero in 10 years by “dramatically expanding and upgrading renewable power sources”.

Trump Light Bulb Efficiency Rollback to Cost Consumers $12 Billion, Boost Emissions by 34 Megatonnes Per Year

The Trump administration’s decision to rescind new energy efficiency standards for light bulbs will cost consumers at least US$12 billion per year by 2025, while increasing annual greenhouse gas emissions by 34 million tonnes and annual electricity use by 80 billion kilowatt-hours in that year, according to an analysis released this week by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

UK Appeal Court Rejects Citizen Climate Case

Legal Challenges Push Two U.S. Gas Pipelines Behind Schedule, Over Budget

Two U.S. natural gas pipelines, the Atlantic Coast line from West Virginia to North Carolina and the Mountain Valley line from West Virginia to Virginia, have both fallen behind schedule and run over budget, partly due to fierce legal opposition on environmental grounds.

California Study Urges Road Usage Charge for EVs

Supreme Court Holds Bankrupt Fossils Responsible for Cleaning Abandoned Sites

A Supreme Court of Canada ruling that holds bankrupt fossils responsible for cleaning up their abandoned oil and gas wells will produce lasting impacts across western Canada, but may not completely address the massive environmental liabilities the companies leave behind, according to initial reporting and analysis of the decision.

China Largely Failing to Curb Methane Emissions from Coal Mines

China’s ambitious plans to prevent climate-wrecking methane from slipping out of its coal mines and into the atmosphere have so far proven ineffectual, according to a study of satellite data recently published in the journal Nature Communications.

Athabaska Chipewyan Push Back on Syncrude Expansion

TransCanada Tries to Offload Majority Share of Coastal GasLink Pipeline

TransCanada Corporation is trying to sell off a majority share of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the controversial, C$6.2-billion project that has faced sustained opposition from Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in northwestern British Columbia.

Trans Mountain’s ‘Amateur Hour’ Work Destroys River Habitat, Endangers Salmon

Federally-owned Trans Mountain Corporation’s “amateur hour” work on the Stewart Creek river crossing in Chilliwack, British Columbia has destroyed habitat and will reduce food sources for coho and chum salmon that are part of the diet of the endangered southern resident killer whale pod off the west coast.

Ottawa Won’t ‘Cut Corners’ on Trans Mountain Review, Sohi Says

With the National Energy Board set to report February 22 on the marine impacts of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said last week the government won’t take any shortcuts in its review of the project—even though he understands how badly Alberta oil and gas workers want to get construction under way.

Santa Barbara Activists Trace Green Awareness, Fossil Skepticism to 1969 Offshore Oil Spill

With the Donald Trump administration racing to deregulate the fossil industry and encourage oil and gas drilling off America’s coasts, Californians stopped on January 28 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Santa Barbara oil spill—the worst disaster of its kind to that date, and one of a handful of ecological disasters that launched the modern U.S. environmental movement.

France, Spain Drop Plans for International Gas Pipeline

Indigenous Group in Patagonia Sues Fossils for Environmental Harm

Irish High Court to Rule on Challenge to National Climate Plan

Russia Considers Cap-and-Trade Law

Coastal GasLink Destroys Traplines as Federal Minister Blames Indian Act for Conflict

Construction crews working on the controversial Coastal GasLink pipeline are bulldozing traplines in Wetsu’we’ten territory in northeastern British Columbia, the community is warning, in violation of the Wildlife Act and in spite of an agreement between hereditary chiefs and the RCMP that called for no interference with traplines or other traditional practices.

UK Enviros Launch Lawsuit Against Third Heathrow Runway

Six Pipelines, Assorted Tax Breaks Lead Fossil Wish List as Alberta Election Approaches

Government support for six new tar sands/oil sands pipelines and four major liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, along with assorted tax cuts and regulatory breaks, led the wish list the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) released Tuesday in advance of the provincial election coming up in Alberta this spring.

New Report Shows U.S. #UtilitiesKnew Climate Risks by Late 1960s

Electric utilities in the United States understood the risks of climate change five decades ago, but still positioned themselves as epic greenhouse gas emitters, according to a report last week by the San Francisco-based Energy and Policy Institute.

Lack of Climate Disclosure Puts Canadian Pensioners, Investment Funds at Risk

Canada needs a three-year plan to mandate better disclosure of climate-related risks in corporations’ annual reports, Ottawa-based cleantech analyst Céline Bak concludes in a study released last week by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

Exxon PR Officials Masquerade as Journalists in Bid to Draw Out Opposing Lawyer

Two ExxonMobil public relations officials recently masqueraded as journalists in hopes of gathering information from a Colorado lawyer involved in a lawsuit against the colossal fossil for climate-related damages.

Albertans Paying the Price for Delinquent Oil Wells

North Stormont Wind Farm Clears Regulatory Challenge

Include Climate Impacts in Trans Mountain Review, IPCC Authors Urge NEB

New fossil projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will make it far tougher to meet the 1.5°C global warming target that is essential for averting the worst effects of climate change, a Canadian climate scientist told the National Energy Board this week.

Steelhead LNG Proposes Fracked Gas Pipeline from Chetwynd, B.C. to Vancouver Island

The Steelhead LNG liquefied natural gas project is studying a pipeline route from Chetwynd, in northeastern British Columbia, to the Kwispaa LNG facility it plans to build on Vancouver Island.

Victoria Supports Class Action Lawsuit to Hold Fossils Accountable

Victoria has become the first city in British Columbia to support a class action lawsuit calling on fossil companies to cover their fair share of the costs municipalities will incur as a result of climate change.

Ottawa Unlikely to Unload Trans Mountain Before Federal Election, Despite Some First Nations’ Interest

The federal government will almost certainly retain ownership of the Trans Mountain Pipeline beyond this year’s federal election, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said in separate media interviews earlier this week, even with a group of First Nations expressing strong interest in bidding for the troubled project.

Buck: Albertans Are Frustrated, but Pipeline Protesters Aren’t Singling Them Out

A singular focus on pipeline politics and carbon pricing may be distracting from all the other steps Canada must also take to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions—but oil and gas isn’t the only focus for groups working against climate change, and no one is trying to single out or target just one Canadian province, writes Joshua Buck, Alberta climate program manager for Environmental Defence.

Fishing Operators Point to Fossils’ Seismic Tests After Plankton Populations Fall 50% in Five Years

Fishing operators in Newfoundland and Labrador are urging a federal-provincial regulator to stop seismic testing by oil and gas companies off Canada’s east coast, after new federal research revealed a 50% drop in plankton populations over the last five years.

Wildfire Liabilities Drive California’s Biggest Power Utility Toward Bankruptcy

Tens of billions of dollars in liabilities from California’s devastating wildfires drove the state’s biggest power utility toward insolvency this week, as Pacific Gas & Electric announced it intended to declare bankruptcy. The decision could affect billions of dollars in utility programs to cut carbon and shift toward energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and renewables.

UK Energy Minister Turns Down Shale Company’s Demand to Ease Earthquake Protections

UK Energy Minister Claire Perry has rebuffed a major fossil company’s demand for less stringent earthquake protection rules for its controversial fracking operations in the northwestern county of Lancashire.

Colorado Court Ruling Favours Fracking Over Climate, Health Concerns

Pipeline Investment ‘Goes Palliative’ in Wake of Unist’ot’en Blockade

Two separate news outlets are declaring the end of pipeline investment in Canada, while several focus in on the differences in jurisdiction between elected and hereditary First Nations chiefs, in the wake of last week’s RCMP raid and subsequent “peaceful resolution” of the Unist’ot’en blockade along TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline in British Columbia.

‘Peaceful Resolution’ to Unist’ot’en Blockade Allows Access, Not Construction, Chiefs Say

Members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation blocking access to TransCanada’s hotly-contested Coastal GasLink pipeline construction site have agreed to allow the company’s workers access through the Unist’ot’en protest camp near Houston, British Columbia, after the Nation’s five hereditary chiefs negotiated a deal to prevent a second RCMP raid on their territory.

Wildfire Liability Could Drive California’s Biggest Utility into Bankruptcy

California’s biggest power utility, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), may be on its way to bankruptcy court as it faces billions of dollars in costs and multiple lawsuits for the role its equipment may have played in several massive wildfires in the northern part of the state.

UK Resort Town Declares Climate Emergency, Seeks Funds for Net Zero Carbon Target

The town council in Scarborough, a resort community on England’s North Sea, has declared a climate emergency as a first step in taking action against global warming.

Legal Strategies Abound as Climate Liability Trend Becomes a Wave

2018 was the year when the climate liability trend became a wave, with actions from New York City to France to the Philippines and Colombia putting the fossil industry under pressure to take responsibility for the climate impacts of its product.

TransCanada Plans June Construction Start for Keystone XL Pipeline

TransCanada Corporation is hoping to start construction on the Keystone XL pipeline in June, with the aim of bringing it online in early 2021.

Emissions Scandal Could Cost Fiat Chrysler Nearly $650 Million

Negotiations Seek ‘Peaceful Solution’ at Unist’ot’en After RCMP Arrest 14 Blocking Coastal GasLink Pipeline

Negotiations were under way between RCMP and hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation Tuesday night, aimed at finding a “peaceful solution” to a standoff that led to 14 arrests when police dismantled the first of two checkpoints set up to stop TransCanada Corporation’s Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline.

Massachusetts to Receive 40 Years of Documents After U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Exxon Appeal

ExxonMobil will have to hand over 40 years’ worth of documents that could shed light on whether it intentionally withheld information on the impacts its products have on climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear its final appeal of a demand from the state of Massachusetts.

Municipal Opposition, Earthquake Restrictions Could Put an End to UK Fracking

A wave of municipal opposition, on the heels of falling natural gas prices, is raising serious questions about the future of hydraulic fracturing in the United Kingdom, just days after the company with the most extensive exploration rights in the country warned that it won’t proceed unless regulations to protect communities from fracking-related earthquakes are eased.

China Boosts Diesel Emission Standards

Maryland Regulator Rejects TransCanada Gas Link from Pennsylvania to West Virginia

A regulatory body in Maryland has unanimously rejected Calgary-based TransCanada Corporation’s bid to build a natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to West Virginia across the western part of the state.

Clyde River, Nunavut Demands Five-Year Extension of Oil Drilling Moratorium

French Climate Petition Approaches Two Million Signatures in One Week as Groups Plot Legal Action

A petition protesting France’s failure to honour its commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement has collected nearly two million signatures in one week, making it the country’s most popular sign-on ever—far exceeding the tally for the country’s well-publicized gilets jaunes (Yellow Vests) movement, at just over a million.

Accountability Letter a ‘Fair’ Way to Share Cost of Climate Impacts, Victoria Mayor Asserts

Victoria, British Columbia is stepping into the spotlight as one of the 16 municipalities across the province asking fossil producers to cover their share of the cost of the climate impacts communities can expect to encounter in this century.

Departing Minnesota Governor Appeals Line 3 Pipeline Approval

PG&E Could Face Murder Charges for California Wildfires

North Van Mandates EV Charging for All New Home Parking Spots

Jaccard: Carbon Taxes are ‘Good Policy, Bad Politics’ When Regulations Do Most of the Work

One of Canada’s leading climate economists and modelers is out with a Globe and Mail opinion piece that questions the decades-old narrative that positions carbon pricing as the cornerstone for effective climate policy.

Recognition of Loss and Damage Emerges as COP 24 Success Story

Recognition of the loss and damage vulnerable countries face due to the inevitable impacts of climate change is emerging as a major success story in the aftermath of this year’s United Nations climate change conference in Katowice, Poland.

Long Island Plans Consumer Protection for $1-Billion Rooftop Solar Industry

Nigeria Files $1.1-Billion Lawsuit Against Shell, Eni

Alberta Fossils Boycott Whistler Conference After City Flags Climate Costs of Fossil Extraction

Several Alberta fossils are boycotting a CIBC investor conference in Whistler, British Columbia, and the bank is considering moving its annual event elsewhere, after Mayor Jack Crompton asked Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. to commit to pay for its “fair share of the costs of climate change being experienced” by the weather-dependent ski resort town.

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EU Court Shoots Down Post-Dieselgate Emissions Standard, Empowers Cities to Fight Air Pollution

The General Court of the European Union has upheld the cities of Paris, Brussels, and Madrid in a challenge to what they see as excessively high emissions standards set by the European Commission in the wake of the Dieselgate standard, with C40 Cities hailing the decision as a “huge legal win”.

Norway Parliament Bans Palm Oil-Based Biofuels

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Halted Over Endangered Species

Ontario Receives Failing Grades for Climate Plan, Misses Business Case for Environmental Commissioner’s Office

The Doug Ford government is receiving failing grades for the scantly-detailed climate plan released late last month by Environment Minister Rod Phillips, while a former senior official argues a strong business case for the Office of the Environmental Commissioner (OCE) after Team Ford decided to shut the office down.

Montana Judge’s Keystone XL Ruling Triggers New State Department Review

The U.S. State Department is undertaking a new review of the Keystone XL pipeline, virtually dashing TransCanada Corporation’s hopes of beginning construction on the US$8-billion megaproject in February.

Miami Moves Against Climate Gentrification in Higher-Elevation Neighbourhoods

B.C. First Nations Urge Coastal Tanker Ban

B.C. Regulator Halts Fracking to Investigate Northeastern Earthquakes

Regulator Signs Off on California Solar Roof Mandate

Squamish Nation, Woodfibre LNG Sign $1.1-Billion Impact Benefit Agreement

The Squamish Nation in British Columbia is signing a C$1.1-billion impact benefit agreement with the Woodfibre LNG liquefied natural project, following what the Squamish Chief describes as a “tight 8-6 decision” in favour of the deal.

Northern B.C. Pipeliner Files Injunction Against Indigenous Protesters

B.C. to Argue for Shared Federal-Provincial Role in Ontario, Saskatchewan Carbon Lawsuits

British Columbia is intervening in two separate court cases launched by Saskatchewan and Ontario, both aiming to undercut federal authority to establish a floor price on carbon pollution.

NEB’s ‘Redo’ Could Land Trans Mountain Project Back in Court

The National Energy Board’s “redo” of its failed review of the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is taking on the same look and feel as the process that drove the Federal Court of Appeal to shut down construction on the controversial project, writes attorney Eugene Kung argues in a post for National Observer.

SeaRose Oil Platform Still Not Stabilized as Biologists Warn of Wider Wildlife Impacts

Nearly two weeks after Husky Energy’s SeaRose offshore oil platform spilled 250,000 litres of crude oil into the Atlantic Ocean, about 350 kilometres off St. John’s, Newfoundland, the company still can’t guarantee that more oil won’t leak out—and biologists say the worst may still be ahead for nearby bird species.

Quebec Youth Launch Class Action Lawsuit Against Canada’s ‘Inadequate’ Climate Plan

A group of five youth and young adults led by Montreal-based ENvironnement JEUnesse (ENJEU) has applied to the Superior Court of Québec for leave to launch a class action lawsuit against the Canadian government, challenging the country’s limited response to climate change on behalf of all Quebeckers aged 35 and under.

National Securities Regulator Would Improve Canada’s Climate Risk Disclosure

A Supreme Court decision earlier this month could open the door for a more unified approach to sustainable finance and low-carbon growth, by allowing Canada to set up a single, national regulator for publicly-traded securities.

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Line 5 Pipeline Runs into Deadline Pressure, Legal Jeopardy as Michigan Governor Leaves Office

Enbridge’s controversial plan to replace the aging Line 5 pipeline with a US$500-million tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac between Michigan and Ontario is running into severe deadline pressure that could set it up for years of legal and regulatory delays, as Governor Rick Snyder prepares to step aside for a new administration.

Holthaus Urges ‘Global Endangered Species Act on Steroids’ to Protect World’s Wildlife

In the wake of the “gut punch” of a report last month by World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) that confirmed a shocking acceleration in the rate of wildlife extinction globally since 1970, veteran meteorologist and Grist climate columnist Eric Holthaus is arguing that legislation has been—and needs urgently to remain—a powerful shield for the Earth’s non-human inhabitants.

U.S. Ignores Lawsuit, Pursues Plan to Open Arctic Drilling

Warming Closes Maine Shrimp Fishery for at Least Three Years

Milwaukee Plan Would Require Solar on New Buildings

Appeal of New York City Climate Case Draws Widespread Support

Indigenous Opposition Blocks TransCanada Gas Line in Mexico

Indigenous opposition has put at least a temporary hold on a TransCanada Corporation gas pipeline from Texas to central and western Mexico, just a couple of years after the Calgary-based pipeliner made it clear it planned to expand its operations in Mexico in the face of regulatory action and community pushback at home.

U.S. Fossil Lobbyist Says ‘Time is Running Out’ on Climate Action—in 1965

The journal Nature is carrying excerpts of a speech by the president of the American Petroleum Institute (API), warning that “time is running out” to “save the world’s peoples from the catastrophic consequence of pollution”—as of 1965. “This report unquestionably will fan emotions, raise fears, and bring demand for action,” Frank Ikard told an oil industry conference, referring to Restoring the Quality of Our Environment, a report by President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Science Advisory Committee. “The substance of the report is that there is still time to save the world’s peoples from the catastrophic consequence of pollution, but time is […]

Solar, Wind, Storage Becoming ‘Default Choice’ for U.S. Utilities

A new analysis is pointing toward monumental shifts in U.S. electricity generation markets, with renewable energy and energy storage becoming the “default choice” in regions that were previously dependent on natural gas.

U.S. Orders Containment, Cleanup for 14-Year Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

The United States Coast Guard is demanding an end to a 14-year oil spill that has dumped as much as 3.5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico since 2004, putting it on track to surpass the Deepwater Horizon disaster as the country’s worst spill ever.

Seabirds Face ‘Agonizing Death’ as Newfoundland Offshore Oil Spill Becomes Impossible to Clean

Newfoundland and Labrador has no hope of cleaning up from its worst-ever oil spill, after stormy waters off the east coast broke up at least two ocean oil sheens to the point that 250,000 litres of toxic material can no longer be recovered.

‘Carbon-Free’ Virtual Forum Demands 1.5°C Action for World’s Most Vulnerable Nations

The Climate Vulnerable Forum completed the world’s first-ever zero-emissions climate summit this week, a day-long virtual meeting that challenged the inevitably more carbon-intensive COP 24 in Katowice, Poland to usher in tougher national climate targets and make climate financing more available to vulnerable countries.

Oil and Gas Drilling Overwhelms U.S. Public Lands

Newfoundland Regulator Shuts Down Offshore Drilling After Region’s Worst-Ever Oil Spill

Oil and gas operations off Newfoundland and Labrador were shut down over the weekend after stormy weather made it impossible for Husky Energy to contain a 250,000-litre (1,575-barrel) crude oil spill, the worst in the region’s history, about 350 kilometres off the coast.

OPINION: Canadian Fossils ‘Lose Patience’ with Trudeau as World Oil Prices Drag Them Down

With world oil prices heading toward another crash, the swashbuckling free marketeers in Canada’s oilpatch are doing exactly what you would expect: amping up the pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to somehow, magically solve a complex cluster of problems that is ultimately beyond Canadian governments’ control. By Mitchell Beer

U.S. Crab Fishers Sue 30 Fossil Companies for Impacts of Ocean Warming

The biggest commercial fishing association on the U.S. west coast filed a lawsuit last week against 30 major fossil companies, including Calgary-based Encana Corporation, in a bid to hold them accountable for “significant economic losses” due to ocean warming off California and Oregon.

Carbon Costs of Trans Mountain Could Hit $8.7 Billion Up Front, $4.1 Billion Per Year

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will trigger additional greenhouse gas emissions worth C$2.1 to $8.7 billion per year up front, and $675 million to $4.1 billion per year for as long as it operates, based on a social cost of carbon between $45 and $270 per tonne, environmental journalist Stephen Leahy calculated earlier this year in a post for Vice Motherboard.

Philippines Commission Probes Fossils’ Accountability for Extreme Climate Impacts

The business writers at The Economist are paying attention to an inquiry launched by the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, aimed at determining for the first time whether the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters have violated basic human rights by causing climate change.

NEB Approves Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Line

EPA Plans to Curb Heavy Truck Emissions

Ford ‘Silences Accountability’ by Cutting Provincial Environmental Commissioner

The Doug Ford government tabled legislation yesterday to eliminate the Office of the Environmental Commissioner (OEC), an independent watchdog accountable to the provincial legislature, as part of a fall fiscal update ironically titled “A Plan for the People”.

350.org Urges House Democrats to Probe Exxon for ‘Misleading the Public, Wrecking the Climate’

With Democrats poised to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the new year, 350.org has launched a petition urging the newly-empowered legislators to investigate ExxonMobil, the country’s biggest fossil company, “for misleading the public and wrecking the climate.”

EU’s New Efficiency, Renewable Energy Targets Will Overshoot Its 2030 Climate Goals

The European Union has adopted new energy efficiency and renewable energy targets that could actually overshoot the continent’s greenhouse gas reduction goals, after accounting for slower economic growth due to Brexit.